May 20, 2024 2:23 am

Glendale Council Imposes Construction Moratorium Following Alleged Illegal Demolition

After what city officials described as an “illegal demolition” of a 1925 Spanish Colonial Revival-style residence in the proposed Bellehurst Historic District, the Glendale City Council unanimously voted to enforce a two-year construction moratorium at the site. Additionally, the council ruled that the homeowner must rebuild the property located at 1239 N. Everett Drive to its original form.

The demolition came to light in October 2023 when a Bellehurst neighborhood resident alerted city staff, sharing photos showing significant structural damage. City staff promptly issued a stop work order and revoked the building permits the following month.

During the council meeting, the homeowner, Akop Adamian, and his lawyer, Steven Simons, asserted that the demolition was unintentional and occurred due to the discovery of termites and dry rot. However, the city’s preservation planner, Jay Platt, disputed this claim, stating that the demolition appeared deliberate based on his assessment of the site.

The two-year construction ban, effective from the date of discovery, aims to ensure proper restoration of the property to its original state. However, Adamian must comply with strict reconstruction guidelines outlined by the city, which include matching the original design, materials, and overall appearance.

While some councilmembers expressed sympathy for Adamian’s situation, others emphasized the need for accountability and deterrence against future violations. Public commenters shared varied opinions, with some advocating for a stricter penalty, citing the importance of historic preservation, while others expressed empathy for the homeowner’s financial burden.

Adamian, who purchased the property in 2021, reiterated that demolition was never his intention and expressed a desire for the project to proceed lawfully. Simons highlighted the significant financial setback Adamian has faced since purchasing the property, estimating a loss of over $500,000 in investments.

Moving forward, Adamian and Simons are considering whether to appeal the council’s decision or pursue civil action. The council’s resolution underscores the importance of adherence to historic preservation guidelines and serves as a reminder of the consequences of unauthorized demolitions in designated historic districts.